Memoirs of a Toledo Childhood: “First Real Job”

"Memoirs of a Toledo Childhood" follows the recollections and reflections of Michael Murray, a Toledoan born in 1944 and raised in the South Side. These snippets of childhood from the previous generation, released as moments rather than a chronological timeline, remind us of what once was and the experiences and legacies that built our present. The excerpts are adapted from Murray's Memoir of a Toledoan and are released with permission of the author.

Block Card 701 South Avenue, 1957, courtesy of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, obtained from http:///images2.toledolibrary.org/. Graphic by Ruth Chang.

One day I had a bright idea to make a shoe shine box. Tom’s Barber Shop was on the corner and the Murray Family were regulars. I had no idea how to shine shoes. My dad spotted me a few bucks for black, brown and Cordovan shoe polish, a stiff brush, and a buffing rag. He showed me how to do get a good shine. One Saturday, I stopped in and asked Tom if I could shine shoes every Saturday. I charged 10 cents a shine‚ÄĒmy first real job at 12 years old. On a good day I could make a dollar, which meant I could buy a milkshake a day for four days and read the hot rod magazines.

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